Thursday, 18 November 2010

Sex and the Small Coastal Town...

So now, not only am I a blogger but I am an internet dater. In fact, I have gone one beyond that. I am in fact a sex texter or is it a text sexer? I am having sex via text…there I said it. He sends me a paragraph of written filth and I send him one back…he sends me one, I send him one…oh…yes…oh…oh…oh…YESSSS! If you get my drift, or at least that is what I am doing in the spaces between frantic texting or trying to find my reading glasses so I can better note the letters. Otherwise I guess he could receive something like “ctm, aabw, bum” – maybe he is…oh god that might mean something in Welsh! Likelihood is though, what with my vast internal dictionary plus superb level of manual dexterity – I am making at least someone, very happy. Now there’s a nice thought… On the other hand he might be watching an old episode of The Professionals on Freeview Channel 7968576 or similar and every commercial break he absent mindedly reaches for his mobile and in thirty seconds flat delivers his most expert filth to mine… And thats the other thing about mobiles – last night he sent a text “how about a picture of your (mmm..never mind what he called it my favorite word is Quim – yes with a capital so thats what I will put) Quim?” Well of course, to anyone under twenty five thats a shrug of the shoulders, maybe a grunt, a click and the gorgeously soft click of nails on keypad and in thirty seconds – Sir (as he shall be known) has an up close and extremely personal piccy of yer Quim. But, of course, I am not twenty five nor even thirty five, but forty five, so its a scramble to the mirror to check it for any stray white hairs…and then seven full minutes of naked posing trying to get that special close up. Being unmathematical and well…stoopid basically it took me forty minutes to work out which way to point the camera…and just when you think you got that perfect shot there in the background is…The Jack Russell Terrorist with that slightly embarrassed look that dogs seem to get when admonished for some misdeed or other…and as my mate Shazza says “how do you get yours to smile…I cant get a decent mugshot..” Anyway, by the time I had finished my naked contortions, a four minute interlude to grin in satisfaction at my having got Quim in shot and then a forty minute lecture to self on horrors of internet porn and dislike of readers wives efforts..I had no network coverage anyway! By the time I did the moment had passed and Sir had to forego his portrait of my Quim…and anyway, he only saw it in close up three weeks ago – has he forgotten what it looks like already?! Cos, oh yes…we not only sex texting…no! Really…I am having sex…and not of the virtual kind either!

Bad Words..

Yesterday, in a moment of frustration I let slip an “oh bollocks” in front of Small Child. A few moments later she said “Oh mummy, there are so many bad words in the world aren’t there?”  and then sighed aloud.  The sympathy that child is capable of at so small a size is truly impressive.  At the sink, under my breath, once I’d had a moment to think I replied “…and I know every fucking one of ‘em…”  Clearly I have not lost all ability to connect with my own ‘small child’ within, but  I don’t go there often – she’s such a bitch!

Just Call Me Bubbles Dahling....

I am always in the gym.  When I am not at home or work or shopping, I am in the gym.  I walk up the steepest of hills and run fast.  I work on my abdominals (well on locating them anyway) and I row.  Then I climb on board a strange machine that simulates a skiing motion and I do a weird dance for ten minutes – weirder if I can get Kiss FM on the radio.  Then, every friday, and no other day of the week, I change into my swimming costume and I head for the Spa Pool.

Some weeks ago I found myself in the Spa Pool, alone or so I thought.  Somewhat bored I began a game with myself.  The challenge was to stay on my feet in the onslaught of the bubbles of the powerful jacuzzi jets.  Now, whatever kind of hobbies or pastimes you have, let me tell you this is quite a good game.  It uses calories, stamina and its lots of fun.  It is also slightly, well ever so slightly erotic.  All those bubbles you see…the bashing of bubbles on yer bits…if you get me.  Anyway, happily I frolicked in the bubbles for quite some while until I turned around and…oops, laying hippo-like (ie still in the water with only the top of his head on view) was….The Man.  He was looking…no not looking; he was viewing me and his gaze never faltered.   I held it together pretty well I must say.  In a nano second my brain sent the message “slowly, calmly, with no embarrassment whatsoever…GET OUT OF THE POOL! ”
Since then, I see him often in the gym.  Mostly the back of him actually.  As I row my way to nowhere I am often free to peruse the back views of the runners on the row of treadmills ahead of me.   He runs.  He is not a lithe, lean athletic runner but he runs.  He has a bald spot coming and some well defined lats.  From the front he has a very broken nose.  

Well, he and me, we look, we look away, we get caught looking and we leave the gym…it is ongoing.
Tonight, at the checkout in Tesco a shout goes up “are these yours love?” and an Old Gal at the back of the queue is holding up my one pound post-it notes. She passes them to Hubby who passes them to someone else who passes them to a little girl about Small Child’s age who passes them to her dad who holds onto them a second longer than he should do which makes me look him in the face and as he puts them in my hand he smirks. Yes it is him…

I have never left Tesco so fast. I was having a bad hair day anyway but then Id got caught in the rain. I was stinky from the gym and I was wearing my too short tracky bottoms that swing round my ankles…why is my life like this?  Why did Paula Jones from school get a nice husband and two kids and a semi in Pinner and I got this?  She would never play in the bubbles by herself. 

I suppose it could have been worse. I had lingered over the Durex Play Massage Oil..Summerfruits flavour.

Definition of a Good Parent...

I know now the definition of a good parent.  I know this because I am one.  I know this because whenever I hoover up Small Child’s beads from her bedroom floor I feel a tremor of guilt.  I have hoovered up a lot of her belongings over the last eight years.  All manner of small toys have disappeared into the Henry never to be seen again.  Pink, plastic jewellry from shiny paged comics, lip glosses, hair clips and slides.  If McDonalds made their free toys any smaller I’d have gladly hoovered them all and relished the swoosh, crunch, clunk as I delivered them swiftly to their dusty destination.

This week though, Small child has a stuffed up nose and a bark of a cough and I mentioned this at work.  A helpful colleague suggested a few drops of Olbas Oil in a saucer of water in her bedroom will do wonders for her breathing. “Ah!” says I, Olbas Oil, yes I have some of that at home in the medicines bag.

Now, I would like to be the owner of a medicine chest but being the owner of the Smallest Bathroom in the World I am reduced to a Medicine Bag kept in the airing cupboard.   It is not the same at all and it is hidden towards the back of the cupboard due to the shame effect.  Incidentally, I would also like to be the kind of mother who carries tissues but toilet paper is a luxury in my house.

Anyway, that evening,  well after bedtime, I began to look for the tiny bottle amidst the medicinal paraphenalia in the bag.  I rummaged awhile, pausing only to check the date on a packet of Strepsils (use by Jun 02) and wonder as to why I had amassed two and a half tubes of KY Jelly when I cannot call to mind any occasion I have ever used the stuff.  Its true I am mostly alcoholicly relaxed when sex happens upon me, but hey surely I would have remembered at least one such session?  I did what I always do in cases of mild embarrassment – I say (either to myself or to anyone close enough to hear) “must be her dads, he used it for his photography – all the professionals do.”)  This incidentally, covers many situations and I highly recommend it to others with an absent parent.

Anyway, whilst rummaging I suddenly remembered the last time we’d reason to use the Olbas Oil, and how it had been left in her bedroom for a while until oops it was knocked to the floor and, let me tell you NOTHING survives my hoovering.  Small child has lost friends to my hoover – nice children but lightweight.  So, there I was at 11pm that night with sheets of newspaper spread over the floor and the hoover bag ripped open before me, my hands grim with dust and dog hair floating before my tired eyes, searching for that bottle..

You see, I am a good parent.  And. if a professional says Olbas Oil then Olbas Oil it is – nothing is too good for Small Child.

Wedded Bliss

He didn’t think I would turn up.  That was obvious as when I arrived he was so pleased to see me.  We had ten minutes until the cab was due and I needed to change.  I ran upstairs and he shouted after me “HURRY UP” a familiar scenario in many households…

I dressed in my finest, snagging my brand new stockings on the way downstairs.  I thought we might do it then and there on the stairs…right there a little mouse….no, thats another song!

We took the pew at the very back of the church, giggling like school children forced to attend the end of term service.  I began every sentence with “ooh we never had that at my wedding” or “ooh will you have that at yours?” until we had to stop.  We had a singing competition to “Sing Hosanna” and I definitely won.  

We sat at long tables eating, talking, laughing and then, when the dancefloor was less crowded we danced.  At one point, we were the Nolan sisters (all of them).   The bride and groom said “you must come round one friday night, we’ll get chinese.  We haven’t had the chance to get to know you yet.”   I agreed, smiled, nodded lots and so did Sir.

We stood in the porch later, waiting for the cab to take us back to his.  The groom and other mates ribbed him “where’d you pull her then eh?” We smiled, said nothing.

We didn’t make it to the top of the stairs before my dress was over my head and he and I spent hours lost in eachother..we slept a short while and then again…

Last sunday morning I got black coffee and a bourban biscuit.  This week it was toast… we  are trying but we are not very good at this Fuckbuddy business.

I don’t know about the bride and groom but hey, I enjoyed MY day.

From the Deep...

He said he was not a monster from the deep
He was wrong
With strong words he drew the picture
I struggled to see…

Broken, he said

He has, it seems, a tolerance
For my confusion
My wish to run
My emerging desire…

His own desire
To break, uncover, quiet, reshape
Breaks the surface of the water like the bow of a determined ship
Riding the waves of my indecision…

Firmly, I am taken in hand
Led through the shallows
Baptised in the colder waters
Bound yet freed…

He is not a monster from the deep
He is my monster from deep within me
And he is come to the surface
For a reason…


My dad
Played with his kids
Back then
When it wasn’t much done
But play he did
Into the beach hut
Doors closed
All eyes watched
Ta Da!
Doors flung wide
He’d emerge
In his emerald swimming shorts
Too big and old old fashioned
Pick up the li-lo
Weightless, easy in his hands
And gather us three with no words
We ran behind him
Down the wooden steps
Crunch across the stones
Onto the soft sand
A big hand
To shield his eyes
Surveying the sea
Decision made!
Splash! The big man is in!  Up to his shoulders, no messing
He’d flick the salt water through his rhett butler hair
The ring on his little finger flashing in the sun
Four of us on the li-lo, four in a row
His weight on the back, keeping it down
The front rising to meet the waves
We’d crash and roll and fall into the brine
And come up spitting, climb back on
And go again and again into the waves
Him on the back
Keeping it down
Until it was over
He would snort and spit and run his fingers through his rhett butler hair
And turning, wade through the surf, his back to the sea
Across the soft sand
Crunch across the stones, up the wooden steps
To the beach hut
To wrap his giant body in a too small towel
None the less
He’d played
With his kids
When it wasn’t much done

To Sir With Lub...

One of Small Child’s schoolfriends has some kind of syndrome or is perhaps just delightfully eccentric before her time.  Small Child is held in continual thrall at the barmy antics of this Crazy Chick.  Apparently, at times, and. completely when the mood takes her (which is what I so love about this child) she ups and off’s from her table and floats around the classroom declaring her “lub” for certain of the most handsome (and Small Child will vouch for this) of the boys.  Not such a crazy chick then eh?

Ah yes! Lub!  A wonderful subject that I ponder most regularly – and particularly at this time of year when the sun seems shinier and my eyes see greener fields.   

Spring though, was yesterday.  Tonight as the wind and the rain rage against the walls of this tiny cottage I ponder and I wonder and…I think I might want to weep.  A short and snotty little blub.  A bit like the one Emma Thompson had in Love Actually when she found her christmas present was not the pretty gold trinket she had found in her husband’s pocket a week before, and thus said trinket must  now hang around the neck of her husband’s lover.  Or should that be lubber?  Well, anyway, it was a supreme little blub and just up my street as blubs go.

Small Child’s friend incidentally, is not a short and snotty blubber.  No.  She is a wailer.  She howls her protests at perceived injustice or her hurt feelings and her howls begin from her toes up.  She could be a professional. 

I don’t want to howl or wail.  I do though, feel a short, sweet but snotty little weep, preferably into a white lace hankerchief is in order this evening.  I think a little redness round the eyes might be appropriate. 

A bit Celia Johnson is how I am a feelin’.  Then, of course, I could give a short, sharp blow of the nose, twiddle my hankie over my lower face, sigh deeply and then announce (to no one) that  ”that is that, over and done,  soldier on girl.”  I could tuck my hanky into the sleeve of my grey, pilled cardigan, adjust my hair (or at least fiddle with something), swallow and give a small, resigned smile before I stride orf to immerse myself in ‘good works’ for others.   Of course, all this would be in black and white and sooner or later I’d be referred to as “a good egg!” 

I won’t though.  Cry that is.   Let’s face it, he’s not even spilt milk.  One can, of course, cry at a loss, and in particular a lost love.  That is certainly allowed and almost compulsory for some – I’m thinking heroines of Jane Austen novels here.  Especially of course, if he (the subject of your lub, true or not) has given you the boot.  He hasn’t though.  I have finished him, finished us.  Not that us was much of an us at all, but still we, were a we, at times.  Certainly not for long, in fact, a truly Brief  Encounter – or series of them anyway.  They were, however, occasions or should that be Occasions – well I wore a hat didn’t I?!

I can tell you why they were Occasions too.  How long has it been since I felt abandonment, lust, love?   Too long, too long, thats how long.  How long since a man held me and kissed me and at least thought he liked me, even if it were for that moment?  How long eh?  Too long!  In amongst the sheer, hard slog of being “mum” when did I get to feel that way?   Never that’s when.  Not even when the husband was still there.

We were a mini series Sir and me.  We lurched from episode to episode, a cliff hanger at each ending.  I did a kind of grown up version of  that game children do with Dandelion Clocks.  “He loves me, he loves me not, he loves me….he love’s me not…even a little bit.”

So, I finished us because I know the signs.  Doesn’t reply to a text?  He’s gone love…Sir has left the building…actually, in all honesty, Sir never quite got both feet through the door.  Well he did once.  A moment on a muddy pathway amidst the cold winter fields. We stood a long moment  in silence, watching the pair of Herons on the water, him stood behind me, hands on my shoulders, taller than me, nuzzling the back of my neck.  He liked me then, in that moment and for a while longer.  Until he didn’t.  What is the new film called?  ‘He’s just not that into you’ – that’ll be it!

So, yes.  I finished us and that is a good thing.  I have places to go and a particular someone to find.   He might come back again of course.  He has a tendency to return, out of the blue, like we never said goodbye. The chirrup that announces a newly delivered text message, and on opening, the delightful “Hello Minxy!”  Yes, he may come back yet for Episode 4 or is it 5?   I think this time though, this time will be it…I think.  Hence the need for that weep…a way to mark his passing from my life. 

He was, you see, frightfully and terribly important, as Celia might say.  He woke me up.   He shook me from my numb and slumbering state.  He reminded me that I used to be a girl who sparkled when desired.  A girl who grew into  a woman who could wear the Ready Brek glow of love as well as any new item in her wardrobe .   He returned me to consciousness, resusitated  me as I neared the death of love.  He may not be that into me but he got completely inside me anyway.

Small child’s friend sees only that her ‘lub’ should be declared.  She delivers her announcements without care or any sense of inhibition.  She seems to need nothing by way of return.   When she ‘lubs’ a boy she ‘lubs’ him.

So,  Sir, before I go, and despite the fact that you have gone already, I want you to know;

”I did, do and will always lub you.”

Frightfully and terribly.

The Definition of a Not So Good Parent...

So,  Small Child and me are cuddled up in her especially narrow single bed (I said it was a small house).   It is bedtime and we are having our nightly “love-in” before she settles to sleep.  The subject, initiated by her of course, turns to sex. 
“So mum, is sex nice then?”
“Yep, but only for big people, not for children” says I.
 ”I would like to do it with a boy”.
 ”You are not to do that, not until you are big.  Children do not do that together.   It is not for children”
“ok” she says.
 ”Sex is for big people when they love eachother” says I, and a rather delicious memory of a man I didn’ t know, an unfamiliar  garden wall and a quite wonderful episode flits across my vision.  Oh the hypocrisy! 
“And”, says I, warming up now, “if ever a big person  makes you feel uncomfortable or silly then you say, loudly “I don’t like that” and you come and tell me, ok?” 
“Ok mum”.
She snuggled down into the duvet, warm and solid in my arms.  A few moments later she said quietly  

“but mum, what if it is you?”

Moi?  Make Small Child feel uncomfortable or silly?  

Isn't that my job?

A Duckling Ugly

I am nine or maybe ten and we are gathered as a group outside the swimming pool.  It is an autumn night and the wind blows sharply through my hair wet with the stink of chlorine.  It is swimming club night and I am a proud Duckling.  Soon a certificate for swimming twenty five yards will adorn my bedroom wall. 

We drift down the road; two mothers, four children.  It is an ungodly hour to be out when you are nine or ten and I feel a thrill at the neon lights of empty shops in the darkness, although I am weary from my endless lengths of the pool and a deep sleep beckons after a long day. 
The smell of frying hits my senses as we near the chip shop and the treat of supper; chips wrapped in paper, greasy and vinegar sharp hit my post swim hunger and fill my tummy with their comfort.
Suddenly I catch sight of my reflection in the shop window and I see the white lace top.  It is the top I have argued about with my mother earlier tonight.  She made it for me as a summer  holiday treat.  My mother thinks the night will be too cold for the white lace but I will not listen.  It is mine and I want to wear it.  It falls off at the shoulder and it is short, revealing my midriff and all the girls at school have one similar.  I had felt until a moment ago, so very grown up.

My reflection shows a little fat girl, eating her chips from the paper, belly spilling over her trousers and I look back at her and I am washed with shame.  I do not know it yet, but this begins a long and tortuous game that will turn my uncomplicated black and white childhood into womanhood with its many shades of grey.

The Single Motherhood Recipe....


1 small child
1 exhausted, chocoholic mother
1 feckless, hopeless but ‘I can still criticize you’ Father – absent – mostly
unlimited chocolate
1 glass of red wine
1 ton of organisational skills
7 swear words….all beginning with “b”
1 more glass of wine
11 minor swear words (it doesnt matter what letter they begin with because the wine has made you slur your words anyway)
14 pairs of hands
the rest of the bottle of wine
1 other single parent who also relies on someone to have her own Small Child when you have to stay late at work – for free
1 grandma (the type who stays home and gardens or cooks post retirement.  I find the ones who go to yoga or line dancing slightly bitter and unreliable)
12 alternatives for “very good darling” (my preferences are “wow that’s lovely” and “what a fabulous drawing darling, the shading is soooo good!)

Throw all the ingredients into the pot, stir it well.  As the pan begins to heat up a little you might notice that the Father makes several attempts to jump out  and run away.  This is normal and my advice is not to try to prevent this as it only leads to a) crying of the Small Child and b) threats the likes of “see you in court then” (does he need more of my money?!).  Keep the pot simmering for the appropriate amount of time (on average about eight years) until Small Child who is now Sarky Screaming Teen declares she now wants to live with Father because she hates you.


What magick?
What dark art?
Which conjurors trick?
Brought me to you?

Which card picked out?
Among the fifty-two
What sleight of hand?
Set me before you?

What will come from
Such a meeting chanced?
The odds against it
Even from the out

Which hat to wear?
Which face present?
Which veil draw
Around the secret, sacred me?

What to reveal? Decide
What to conceal? Hide
Some facet of this complex self
Intruded on. Denied?

Which of the fragments
Of the history that made a me,
Which of these will be
Told, this time to you?

What will you do then
When I am before you
Laid bare
What will you see?

Which is the better view
Clear sky or
The clouds of me
That close in but pass eventually?

What will come of this?
This us begun will end
And me, undone a little more
Than went before

Introducing Small Creature...

I have never told you about Charlie.  I don’t know why.  Did I mention the rats?  We have nine rats altogether. six big boy rats and three smaller girly rats.  I know they are rats but I kind of love them….they are smart and they…well they smell of….biscuits or maybe I have just been on the Atkins diet too long.
Charlie though…he is different…Charlie I love just because he is Charlie. 

We had another hamster before Charlie.  Elmo was a tiny creature who was friendly enough but rather scared and bit Small Child on several occasions.  Small Child in return continued to love Elmo but not to want to play with him much.  When Elmo became ill I nursed him. Under strict instructions from the vet I mushed babyfood and injected it into his tiny mouth.  I soaked cotten buds in water and cleaned around his tiny bottom and continually wiped his mucus clogged eyes (using seperate buds of course –  just call me Nurse Birdee!)  I massaged his tiny body and kept him in the airing cupboard for nearly a week, popping home from work when I could to check on him.  He died of course the poor little mite and we buried him in the garden in a special box decorated by Small Child’s loving hands and filled with beautiful flower petals she had gathered for him from around the garden.  Did we cry? We howled.  She howled when I gave her the news.  I howled when someone upset me at work the next week…but I was really crying for Small Child and her loss and my own powerlessness to save the tiny boy she had been so desperate to befriend.

And then, a few weeks later I decided to replace Elmo and hours later we returned with Charlie.  Now where Elmo was small Charlie is a bruiser of a hamster.  In fact I dont think Charlie thinks he is a hamster at all.  He really shouldn’t be here at all by now, given the amount of near misses he has had.  In fact, were he a cat I would be talking of him in terms of nine lives.

Last summer having left him rolling around the bedroom in his ball I heard Small Child scream and went running downstairs.  Charlie had left the bedroom and bounced his way down the stairs still inside the ball.  This split open on impact with the dining room floor and Charlie quietly busied himself inside my slipper until unwittingly small child opened the back door and let the dog in….

Dog is Jack Russell Terrorist

As I reached the bottom of the stairs I spied body parts of hamster hanging from drooling mouth of dog as he shook his kill.  He shook Charlie and in a moment of panic I shook him.  When he dropped Charlie on the floor I scooped him up and put him on the worktop.  Clearly the sensation of prey in the jaws causes dogs (well dogs like mine) to salivate excessively and Charlie looked as though he had just showered.  I half expected him to ask me for a towel!  He stood shuddering slightly on the worktop for a moment before shaking himself and, I swear the little bugger swaggered, not staggered around the breadboard.  If he could have talked I have no doubt he’d have said “bring it on dog!”

About three weeks ago he escaped from the cage which is on top of the fridge on account of Dog’s unending interest in contents of cage.  There he was busy rummaging through an open bag of…..arrrgh! Dog biscuits and as I struggled to get him back in the cage I realised why – in his mouth was a small bone shaped biscuit that was hitting both sides of the opening through which I was trying to shove his fat little cheeks…this little guy truly wants a war!

Last week at five a.m. I woke to the sound of dog whining from downstairs.  Now dog never whines for food or water or walks or to go out to pee.  Dog only ever whines when tormented by small creatures, birds but more often squirrels.  I knew instantly it had to be Charlie and down I went on my five a.m. feet wobbling towards the cage and yes he was gone!  Didn’t need to hunt for him as Dog was sat before the computer desk whining, salivating and dribbling onto the floor.  When eventually I located Charlie he simply looked at me like he was surprised to see me up so early!

Today I took Charlie to the vet.  He has loose stools and looks skinny to me.  Now this was the beginning of the end for Elmo and I had always suffered pangs of “did I leave it too late, could he have been saved….am I a….BAD MOTHER!!!!! So off we went to the vet an upbeat me and a very worried Small Child.  Half an hour later we emerged…me twenty quid poorer but armed with syringe and liquid antibiotics….Nurse?  I am virtually surgeon!
And so far?  Charlie is holding his own….will keep you posted!

Small Creatures

Charlie’s bottom is fine.  Charlie’s leg is….probably broken. Charlie fell from the top of the fridge freezer to the floor and when we found him he just sat in my hand.  When he tried to move he just cried..and so did Small Child.
This was a week ago.  Twenty five more quid at the vets, a pain killing injection later and said leg seems (as the vet said it might) to be healing itself.  The antibiotics are still going down twice a day and he has gone from sleeping in a ball to hauling himself heroically up the tube to his sleeping quarters.  In fact, he hauled up the whole contents of his bed and rearranged it there yesterday despite my insisting he sleep downstairs to rest the leg.
I had thought as I cradled crying hamster in my palm a week ago that this had to be the end of Charlie, but no, he is as invincible as that other Charlie, Charlie Bronson and yes he most certainly has a death wish.
The swagger is now a stagger but hey….comes to us all in The End.


I have gravelled the front garden.
Its got more pebbles now than Brighton beach.
I have muscles on my muscles from all the digging and raking…three tons of gravel!
A new and shiny pot plant sits proudly on the drive and the For Sale sign that I pass each day finds me hopeful.
I might move to the depressed little town down the coast.  It has fantastic victorian architecture but its heyday is done and the rot has set in (mmm…think I know how it feels!)  It’s affordable though and will mean I have a quid in my pocket for a while….
Small Child is excited.  She will stay at the local schools so its only the size of bedroom and garden that interests her….big on both counts.
In which case, she can bloody gravel it next time!

Oh Charlie!

It had to happen and today it did.  The vet said “a hamster over two years is really very good” but at this point twenty years would not seem enough.

When anything dies all the other deaths  in your life come together.  Like a group of gossiping old gals they exchange sad snippets of lives lived and done and over with.  Fleeting images of funereal black and cigarettes smoked outside the church before grim faced goodbyes got said.

Just yesterday Small Child and I discussed death – mine in fact.  She is studying the second world war this term and is quite fascinated.  She is particularly taken with  "Adult Hitler" but she thinks he was pretty  mean. Homework was to write a letter home pretending you are an evacuee.  We discussed Nanny and Grandpa and I tried to help her see that they too were children once and were among the evacuees she is so fascinated by.  I explained the tragedy of my own great grandmother and her youngest daughter who died in their Anderson shelter at the bottom of the garden whilst the house itself still stood the next morning.  Small child, quite rightly, couldn’t connect to these long lost women from whom she descends. One day I make take her to view their names amongst those other victims of the blitz of 1941 on the memorial at the imperial war museum.

I often, in fact,  find myself explaining to Small Child the sayings and doings of  ‘The White Hairs’ (our secret name for Nanny and Grandpa) and quite a few of these are leftovers from what was probably the most exciting  time of their lives.  Nanny for instance will often greet Small Child with  “got any gum, chum?”  And Grandpa almost always says “T.T.F.N”  (Tata for now) instead of ‘goodbye’ which I guess was a comfort during days when goodbyes might well be forever.

“Who will talk at your funeral mum?”  says Small Child. Like I am going to let anyone else get that job?
“I will darling, from beyond the grave.”
“Errgh!” she says.  Warming to my subject I describe how I will order someone to read my words aloud in the church beginning with “I guess among you will be some who did not know me in life and for them I would like a moments silence,  given what they missed out on!”   Small Child gets it!  Immediately she is in fits of laughter.
“You can’t say that mum.”
“I can say what I like I am dead” says I.
“What else mum?” she says.
“Wailing” I say.  “Lots of wailing from the back row and the Thunderbirds theme at the end of the service.”   Small child loves this and her laughter continues as she goes up the stairs.  A few minutes later she is back.
“You will hear me wailing mum, wherever you are.”
“By that time darling you will just be grateful not to have to change my nappies anymore” I say.  She is off again, finding such a concept funnier than she will at thirty five for sure.

And today, whilst she sat in the classroom pondering that war or maybe ran crazy and carefree round the playground on perhaps the last of the warm days I stood in the vets and had a little wail myself whilst  in a backroom he put Charlie quietly to sleep.  He is lying in a little box on the kitchen worktop now.  The vet offered to cremate him for me but I thought Small Child might need a ceremony even if Charlie is beyond caring and I am already thinking of excellent reasons why we cannot have another pet.

This afternoon after she has had a wail she will busy herself decorating the box, filling it with comfy bedding and surrounding his tiny body with flowers and food just as she did the last hamster.  We will bury him under the apple tree (also dying but this may just be due to the amount of small dead creatures buried beneath it) and then get on with the day.

T.T.F.N Charlie